Conshohocken Italian Bakery - Conshohocken

What is a Tomato Pie?  Conshohocken Bakery Provides a Not So Cheesy Answer


When it comes to the Philly food scene, most people immediately think of cheesesteaks.  As a NEPA resident who has visited Philadelphia fairly regularly over the years, I generally think of cheesesteaks, roast pork sandwiches, and a sandwich affectionately known as "The Schmitter."  The pizza is generally decent with some great stuff here and there, but the City of Brotherly love is home to a pizza that is fairly unique to the region - the tomato pie.  For those who haven't spent much time in Eastern PA, or parts of New Jersey, you might be thinking a tomato pie might simply be a pizza with slices of tomato, or something like the Apizza served in New Haven, CT.  If you guessed these were tomato pies, you'd be correct, but we're talking about a Philly Tomato Pie, also known as an Italian Tomato Pie, or sometimes a Jersey Tomato Pie.

A close up view of the bold red sauce and flakes of white cheese atop the Tomato Pie at Conshohocken Bakery.
Carolyn Russock of Eater writes: "Certain tomato pies, like the ones popular in Philadelphia bakeries, clearly trace their roots back to Sicily, where thick, rectangular pizzas were topped with chopped tomatoes, anchovies, onions, and oregano — but rarely ever cheese — before sliding into wood-fired ovens. This cheese-free recipe stems from the Southern portion of Italy, where tomatoes and olives are more plentiful than dairy cows. Somehow during its transatlantic journey, Sicilian pizza shed the onions and anchovies and was renamed, Ellis Island–style, "tomato pie."  The philly version of this pizza usually consists of a thick, porous, focaccia-like dough covered with tomato sauce. It may be sprinkled with Romano cheese or oregano. It is not usually served straight from the oven, but allowed to cool and then consumed at room temperature or reheated.

Photo Credit: Conshohocken Italian Bakery Facebook Page.
There are quite a few bakeries and pizzerias in the metro area and beyond that serve this large, saucy, cheeseless pizza served cold.  The one that I was most familiar with from my interactions on social media was Conshohocken Bakery.  They are known for making their custom pizzas with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top in the shape of Philadelphia sports teams' logos and other cool graphics.  Opportunity struck while we were on our way home after a Phillies game and I noticed that the bakery was only a couple of minutes off of the interstate.
A look at a half sheet of Tomato Pie at Conshohocken Bakery.
After a short detour, we arrived and I requested a tomato pie.  When the lady brought it out and I saw the gigantic size of the box and I wasn't sure if it would even fit in my car I had to downsize into a half tray of pizza!  A half sheet is roughly the size of an Old Forge pizza, but a full sheet can feed an army!  I was surprised at how affordable the pie was - I think only about $9 or so.  After a few photographs on the hood of the pizza mobile, I stuck it in the back for the journey home.  The car smelled fantastic for the duration of the commute and I couldn't wait to give it a try.

When I got home and popped the box open, I discovered a vibrant red sauce which was pasty and smooth and dotted with cheese.  The crust was a vibrant tan and really resembled an Old Forge pizza shell.  The first bite netted a foccaccia-like chewiness that was slightly tough, but easy enough to eat.  I found the center slices to be softer and more tender than the edges and preferred the edges and corners because the dough itself was quite tasty.  Atop the spongy crust laid the sauce which was quite sweet and pretty simple.  So simple, in fact, that Conshohocken Bakery actually lists the entire ingredient list on their website: flour, salt, water, sugar, yeast, whey (milk), cornstarch, soy & cottonseed oil, wheat flour, DATEM, dextrose, tomatoes, black pepper, parsley, vegetable oil, garlic, cheese.  That's transparency my friends!


Overall, I was really thrilled to finally give this unique pie a shot.  I will say, my family members really liked how soft and sweet it was.  I'm not the biggest sweet sauce guy, but I did enjoy its simple elegance.  The texture was very uniform and every bite was the same which I think a lot of people would like.  The whole time I ate this I thought it would be a great pie to take to the office and sit in the break room in the morning and let people snack on it all day.  I know I'd prefer this over the traditional box of donuts once in a while!  If you're around the Philly area, I definitely recommend you stop in and give it a try.  Have you ever had a tomato pie?  Where from?  What is your favorite place for it?  Let me know in the comments!

The Ratings

Restaurant: Conshohocken Bakery
Location: Conshohocken, PA
Date: September 2019
Eat In/Take Out: Take Out

Pizza Ordered: Grandma Pizza
Price: $9.00?
Crust: 7.0
Sauce: 7.1
Cheese: N/A
Overall Taste: 7.2
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 7.5
Overall Value: 8.6
OVERALL RATING: 7.3
Similar to: Corropolese, Sarcone's

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